'If Ukrainians got to know truth about military losses, Kiev wouldn’t stand a week' - Zakharchenko Press Conference

At a regular press-conference in Donetsk on August 3, the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Zakharchenko told journalists about the current situation at the front and the latest developments in the social sphere of education and the economy of the Republic. 

- Alexander Vladimirovich, yesterday the Ukrainian military attempted to break through the south front. Taking into account the talks in Minsk, how can you assess the actions of the Ukrainian army?

"In fact, there were two attempts to break through: one in the south, another in the Svetlodar arc. Both were unsuccessful for them. The enemy was thrown back. In the context of Minsk, I can say that this was done purposely to disrupt the negotiations, to show that the "harvest" truce was violated in Donbass. But, they once again made a mistake. Only the Ukrainian side breaks the truce. The enemy suffered losses, our positions remained intact. Although Ukraine said that it “advanced” by 1,5 km, we did not give a quarter of the land."

- Ukraine announced the disconnection of the Republics from electricity. Will the Donetsk People's Republic manage to dispense with Ukrainian electricity for a long time?

"We have been practically living for almost a year without Ukrainian electricity. There were flows, but we gave more energy to that side than we received. This is another unsubstantiated statement of Ukraine. None of our settlements have suffered from this cut-off, and will not suffer in the future as well. We are self-sufficient in this matter. Concerning the other blockades, for example, food one. We have it since 2014, but go to our stores, and see how we "suffer" from it.

- Ukraine has repeatedly asked U.S. for weapons. And negotiations on this topic have been revived lately. Apparently, America will supply weapons to Ukraine. It is allegedly said about defensive weapons, but these weapons can also be used as offensive ones. If there are Minsk agreements, then why do they build up their positions? 

"There are no offensive and defensive weapons. Weapons are weapons. A machine gun can also be used for defense... Deliveries of US weapons to Ukraine have always been there. In 2015, we showed the weapons that were captured in the Donetsk airport. There were also machine guns, assault rifles of American production and much more. Any weapon that the USA will supply to Ukraine will be regarded by the Ukrainian side as an encouragement to the offensive. America wants to frustrate negotiations in the frames of the Minsk process and the Normandy Four. It is advantageous for it so that these processes will revolve around it."

- On July 25, you held a meeting concerning the work of the checkpoints. How your orders are being fulfilled? Are there any positive developments in this issue? What is the situation at the checkpoints now?

"I would like to remind you of what kind of instructions were given. The first is the improvement of the territory: the creation of recreational facilities, all amenities needed by the population, medical assistance centers. Also placement of information signs with the numbers of "hot" lines of departments, obligatory wearing of uniforms by employees with all marks of distinction and personal badges. Almost all these instructions were fulfilled. By the end of August, all work on the improvement will be completed."

- Your decree introduced personal scholarships in the amount of three thousand rubles for the best students. What is the reason for such a decision? 

"We have talented youth. If we had allocated not one hundred scholarships, but a thousand, I think, still there would have been worthy ones. Any state should develop, and development of the state is children, our future. Therefore, support is not important in word, but in deed. Young people will take their places in ministries and departments someday, so stimulation is necessary. I even think that it is possible to increase the number of grant-aided students."

- You ordered to run a check of the Driver Licensing Office regarding corruption. Are there any results?

"Our joint briefing with the Internal Affairs Minister will be held in the nearest future, where the details of the investigation and the facts of corruption that were discovered in the Internal Affairs Ministry system will be reported in detail. One should wait, there will be a lot of interesting information."

- The Ukrainian government has drafted a bill on the reintegration of Donbass, could you comment on this?

"I would call this not a bill on the reintegration of Donbass, but a plan for the destruction of the population of the Donetsk People's Republic. It is more honest and more consistent with the essence of this document. But, to be honest, Ukraine can develop any laws, it does not make the Donetsk People's Republic go cold or hot. We don't know what can occur to them with such a sick imagination."

- Our newspaper called Donetsk Republic received a letter from the reader, in which he raises the question of the empty business centers of Donetsk. He offers them to be nationalized and converted to residential apartments for those who have lost their homes. What do you think about it?

"I do not understand how it is possible to convert a business center into an apartment building. The owners, who, for one reason or another, left the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic, do not want to lose their property. Square meters in the DPR are constantly growing in price, if earlier an apartment in Donetsk city center could be bought for 30 thousand dollars, today the price reaches 100 thousand. I would like to get personally acquainted with this letter. But for now, I can say that if the Republic needs these business centers, then we will nationalize them. Each case must be considered separately, it is impossible to nationalize everything. The Donetsk People's Republic respects the right of private property."

Work on providing people with housing is ongoing. Now several projects for additional funding of construction projects where the readiness of houses is 70-80% have been developed. First of all, housing will be given to servicemen and other people who have done much for the Republic. We have such a large number of people in need that we will not be able to do this quickly. 

- You said that the discussion about Malorossiya would be continued. Will there be open or closed meetings, and with whom?

"Of course, the discussion will be continued. Already now, we receive up to 300 letters a day from the people from that territory who express their opinions on this issue. There will be held both closed discussions, (as certain processes cannot be taken out), and open meetings, to which the media will be invited."

- Returning to the topic of attempts to break through. Many people ask themselves: why do the Ukrainian military take such steps? Is it simply the disposal of military personnel or an attempt to probe the front at the cost of the lives of their soldiers?

"The army must understand which unit confronts you. How effective it is. This is the probing of the weak places of our defense. But note, that almost along the entire contact line there are national battalions, and everyone knows that they often act without logic and are beyond the control of the command. The battalion-commanders sat and decided that they would seize us - this is the second reason."

The third one – Ukraine doesn’t need rabid nationalists as well, they are afraid of them. Therefore, such senseless attacks - a way of getting rid of the most active and zealous "patriots". We help them in this regard, we work effectively.

- I often go with the military to the "gray" zone to film, we saw that the Ukrainian commanders did not even take the bodies of their dead servicemen.

"Do you remember the case when I handed over the bodies of the dead Ukrainian servicemen, and their colonel did not even want to take them? Kiev conceals its military losses. If the people of Ukraine got to know the truth about the losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the war in Donbass, I think that the current government would not stand a week, it would be simply demolished."

Source: Official web-site of the DPR Head Alexander Zakharchenko

Official translation by DONi News Agency